The Welcome to Idaho sign at the Nevada/Idaho border on US-93 has long been a posting board for stickers hailing from all around the globe. The area which houses the sign has a large paved cutout — similar to those of our historical site locations — where travelers can safely pull over and stretch their legs, snap a shot of themselves at the state line and, in many cases, leave their sticky mark behind.
Perhaps it’s because of the convenient parking, or perhaps our welcome signs just hold a certain appeal, but for whatever reason, the accumulation of decorative decals has only continued to grow year after year.
“It’s not that this is the only sign that gets hit with this type of vandalism, but this is by far and away one of the worst,” said D4 Shoshone East Maintenance Foreman Carl Horn. “A lot of folks think it’s an interesting phenomenon, but there are also complaints from the public as well – individuals who think it’s a poor representation of our state.”
For years the D4 sign team (shown in the pictures above and below) dealt with the situation the way most districts would. Put up a new sign, remove stickers whenever able, and when the pesky posts become too much to handle, replace the sign and allow the cycle to start all over again.
“These signs should be lasting 10-12 years, and having to replace them every 2-5 is a drain on our time and resources,” D4 TTO Pete Veenstra stated. “I knew there was a better option out there.”
Veenstra came up with the idea of offering an alternative sign for sticker gurus to utilize. One that would catch a passerby’s eye, and hopefully steer them away from vandalizing the welcome sign. He worked with his sign crew to create and install a large cutout which depicts the iconic shape of Idaho, and also replaced the vandalized welcome sign with a bright and shiny new one on the same day.
The question on everyone’s mind of course, is whether or not the innovation would work. Well, if the comments and photos flooding in on social media are any indication, then the answer is a resounding Y-E-S! Within two weeks of assembly, the Idaho sticker sign was well on its way to being full, and that neighboring Welcome to Idaho sign….happy to report not a decal in sight.
“We’re hoping this innovation will take hold, and that our Welcome to Idaho sign will go unscathed for many years to come,» Horn said.